I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. Mainly what it is and what it means to me.
I just submitted my novel, Caroline’s Lighthouse to the publisher and it has a love story in it with a pretty sweet declaration of love. Actually, it has more than one love story in it, just not all of them are as obvious. My novel in progress is a love story too, but one character takes a little while to figure it out.
Scientists will tell you that love doesn’t come from the heart, it is a chemical reaction in the brain that causes the feeling of love. The reason the ancient poets and philosophers coined it as an emotion of the heart is that when you actually feel love, you can feel it deep in your chest. The exhilaration of it, the rapid heartbeat, and the excitement of it. Sometimes love is excruciating and causes the deep aching, burning, searing pain also known as heartache.
I’ve written about love before. What I wrote about my husband: There aren’t enough words or enough days left in my life to ever finish my thoughts on how much I love him. In other words, there are big reasons and so many little reasons I could never have a complete list because new items would get added every single day.
He loves me—he not only tells me but shows me every day.
He supports me—financially, emotionally, and spiritually.
He loves our children—he takes care of them as much as I do.
He has ambition—he never gives up.
He understands my need for regular interludes of solitude to keep my sanity.
He washes dishes, cleans toilets, takes out the trash, mows the yard, and is not afraid to be the “bad guy” when it comes to disciplining our children.
He doesn’t complain too much when I bring home a new book to read even though I have hundreds already.
He saves me the ketchup packets he gets when he gets fast food because he doesn’t like ketchup but knows I do.
I am extremely lucky to have Jonathan in my life. He makes me laugh and always has my back. He’s been super supportive of my writing. He tells me my book will be a best-seller and I think he truly believes that. Jonathan tells me that he is the lucky one when he finds me in our house to kiss me for no reason at all.
Jonathan and I have a small group that we meet with weekly through our church. It consists of a great group of people who are all in similar stages of life so that we can do life together. We all have kids and are struggling to raise them not to be jerks while keeping our marriages strong. Right now we are studying how different men and women are in their needs to stay in love. Like how most men need respect and most women need security. Men need sex and women need affection. It’s been interesting so far.
In the study, we’ve talked about a love bank where deposits or withdrawals are made. Jonathan thinks it sounds dirty, so he likes to joke about it, but the concept is good. Basically, nice things add to the love bank, and irritating things take away from the love bank. An example of Jonathan’s most recent deposit, he got up and helped Meredith in the bathroom during dinner so I wouldn’t have to even though she called for me. Jonathan said my deposit was when I argued with him after he called himself an asshole. I told him all the reasons why he wasn’t with specific examples.
Ultimately, true love is all the little things that happen in between all the grand gestures and declarations. It’s staying in love even when you get pissed at each other, or the kids are driving you crazy, or you get frustrated with situations you can’t control.
Love is why we get up in the mornings. Love is why we keep breathing. It’s not always about romantic love. It can be love for yourself, love for your family, love for humankind in general, love for your pets, love for a hobby (or muse), or love for God. Just love yourself, someone, or something. Trust me; it’s worth it.
-Brandi Easterling Collins